Love Our Enemies?

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Matthew 5:43-45
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. ’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

“Love your enemies.” Honestly, I don’t think I have any “enemies”. I mean, there are people in my life whom I would consider to be annoying, and I’m sure that there are people in my life who would find me annoying. But, I would not qualify such people as “enemies”.

According to the Greek linear,
Matthew 5:43 reads as follows:

“You heard that it was said, you will love the neighbor of you and you will hate the hostile of you.”

Hmmm… hating “the hostile of you”. When it’s put that way, I’m guilty. I do admit that I sometimes have hatred in my heart towards people that are hostile towards me, that’s why I need Christ. I am a sinner.

However, there are actually people that hate ME? But, I’m a nice guy!

Jesus teaches us (Christians) that we actually are hated because He chose us:

John 15:18-19
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

This makes sense because the next verse in the Matthew passage above reads:

Matthew 5:44
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”

Jesus defines here what an enemy is. It is someone who persecutes Christians. It is not someone who simply finds one to be annoying. When we are considered to be annoying by people, most of the time I suspect that we are actually annoying, and such people are probably not our enemies. Our enemies are those who persecute and hate us for being of the elect or chosen “out of the world” by God. There’s a BIG difference.

So when we are actually persecuted, how should we respond?

Matthew 5:44
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”

Pray for those who persecute us. In other words, pray to the Father to forgive them. Do the opposite of what our flesh would have us do. Here are some examples as to how we should respond:

2 Timothy 4:14-16
“Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!”

Acts 7:59-60
“And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ And when he said this, he fell asleep.”

Luke 23:33-34
“And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'”

Here is a reminder from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and also the Apostle Paul:

John 7:7
“The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.”

2 Corinthians 5:17-19
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”

May we learn to love, forgive, and pray for those who persecute us. May we be sons of our “Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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